March 29, 2016

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Bill Maynard, a botanist and former high school biology teacher, has worked for various government agencies from Alaska to South Florida and for The American Birding Association. He discovered the 87,000 acre Chico Basin Ranch to be the perfect natural laboratory to study and photograph birds, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other insects. Chico Basin Ranch Natural History Resources : BIRDING CHECKLIST // BIRDING MAP // DRAGONFLY & DAMSELFLY CHECKLIST //

When I first talked with Duke about Mountain Plovers 10 years ago he said “they are up on the hill.”  A casual observer would see Chico as flat grasslands, a few ponds and some riparian areas, but no hills.  But, a careful observer sees the prairie as a multitude of microhabitats, each habitat supporting a unique flora and fauna.  Short-eared Owls sometimes winter on the Chico but since they roost on the ground, they need dense cover from predators and an exploitable food base, rodents.  A careful examination of the Chico prairie ecosystem revealed where these owls should be, out past the hills and in the sand.